Not the first time: Chastened Fox News pundit Steven Emerson has been wrong before

Who is the expert who called Birmingham 'totally Muslim'?

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Who is this Steven Emerson, who first tells Fox News that Birmingham is a “totally Muslim” city, then backtracks and says it is “beautiful” – thus proving twice over that he has never set foot in Birmingham?

A former congressional aide and CNN journalist, Emerson founded The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a Washington-based think tank, in 1995. He is also a well-known pundit, available at any time to pronounce on Middle East terrorism, though his appearances in recent years have been mainly on Fox News, and believes that he is himself a potential terrorist target. As a precaution, visitors to his Washington office are sometimes blindfolded so that they will not know its location.

In 1995, he told CBS News that the bomb that killed 168 people in a federal government had a “middle Eastern trait” - ie was the work of Arab terrorists – because “it was done with intent to inflict as many casualties as possible.” Actually, the culprit was a white supremacist, Timothy McVeigh.

In 1996, he alleged that Muslim academics based in the University of South Florida, in Tampa, were implicated in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre. “I am constrained at this point form revealing some of those details,” he wrote. No one from Tampa has ever been charged with involvement in that outrage.

In 1998, he fed newspapers with an informant who said that Pakistan was planning a nuclear strike against India.

In April 2013, he claimed to have inside knowledge that the person who planted a bomb during the Boston marathon was a Saudi, who was being deported rather than prosecuted because “that’s the way things are done with Saudi Arabia: you don’t arrest their citizens, you deport them.” Actually, the bombers were two Chechens.